On October 11, 2017, a huge battle occurred in the system of MTO2-2, Perrigen Falls. The most costly fight to take place in New Eden in recent weeks, this was the first major engagement of a new war between the Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) and the Drone Regions Federation (DRF).
Anchored just off the HD-JVQ gate into Venal, the Keepstar was intended to be used as a major staging post for assaults deep into DRF territory by GotG and their PanFam coalition allies. Days earlier, GotG assaulted and destroyed the MTO2-2 Infrastructure Hub, disabling any system upgrades such as Cynosural Beacons or System Jammers. This also allowed the Keepstar to complete the anchoring process in just a 24-hour cycle. As a result, the structure anchored before downtime on Tuesday, October 10, and GotG prepared for a fight to secure their citadel a day later, going so far as to move supercapital assets within range.
Guardians of the Galaxy and Allied Fleets
- GotG Mixed Capitals
- GotG Machariels
- Triumvirate Lokis
- Northern Coalition. Gilas
- Fraternity. Feroxes
At the same time, DRF forces readied themselves for a long assault, moving vast amounts of materiel and players within range of the fight. They also called on the Legacy Coalition, allies of convenience. They knew it would be costly to take the citadel down, but also that if it became secure and could be fitted, the cost and effort required to kill it would be almost unthinkable across the three timers.
Drone Regions Federation and Allied Fleets
- DRF Dreadnoughts
- DRF Abbaddons
- Phoenix Federation Cerberuses
- Legacy Coalition Jackdaws
- Legacy Coalition EWAR wing
Both sides also poured numerous reinforcements into the system as the fight came down to the wire. This made it impossible to accurately assess the total number of ships involved.
Getting Into Position
At around 1000 on the fateful day, GOTG made the first move, gating their fleets through into MTO2-2 from Venal and warping up the the Keepstar grid. They positioned their capital and supercapital assets in the space between the two spires of the Keepstar. The move forced the DRF forces to improvise around this. Their intended plan, to blockade the HD-JVQ stargate, was no longer possible.
Nevertheless, the DRF forces pressed on, beginning to drop their squadrons of five to ten dreadnoughts at prepared positions scattered around the grid. At the same time, the sub-capital fleets were moving to engage the GOTG-aligned fleets, while groups like Legacy and other smaller DRF fleets burned to join the fight. Downtime occurred as they poured into system. The cluster shut down forced an emergency warp and a short suspension of the fighting. The fleets then frantically refreshed individual game launchers, all hoping to gain that moment of advantage by being the first to log back in, reform the fleet and be waiting for their enemies to land.
There were also a number of groups who had formed fleets to third-party on the conflict that arrived as the fight amped up following server down-time. One such fleet was the Imperium Cerberus fleet under Asher Elias, who left their staging system a full hour and a half before downtime, trying to utilise an audacious route through 6 different wormholes in an attempt to materialize within MTO2-2 directly. Unfortunately for the Imperium pilots, wormhole group Stryker Industries rolled their fourth connection as they warped to the wormhole. This forced the fleet to take a different connection, exit in the low-security Lonetrek system of Passari, and then free-burn the rest of the way, resulting in their arrival at MTO2 more than two hours after their initial form-up.
The Fighting Begins
This is the point where the fight became a monotonous and frustrating affair for the thousands of pilots involved. With local at 1700 pilots, and more waiting in the wings, Time Dilation held steady at 10%. With it came all the standard server instabilities we have all come to know and love. Modules would red-cycle endlessly. Targets would be close enough to lock and engage, but the overview would display them hundreds of kilometres away. Emergency warps and combat-probing would be unreliable, resulting in fleets not landing where they intended. It also may have caused at least one GotG supercapital death.
By the time the Keepstar died, four and a half hours had passed since the initial shots were fired. Some of the primary damage-dealers were GotG titans, although more than a hundred dreadnoughts had also perished in the assault. In addition, countless sub-capital ships died and were replaced as pilots reshipped. DRF military coordinator and FC Manuel Noryigga posted a Reddit write-up of his own. It includes one amusing moment where TiDi prevented an FC from self-destructing to rally reinforcements. To send him home, his fleet shot him themselves. The post also details how the line stayed positive throughout. They believed to the very end that they could bring down the citadel. That sentiment no doubt kept their FCs working throughout.
With the Keepstar dead, GotG supercapital pilots immediately lost the safety of tether and became the focus of all hostile fleets. After a tense 45 minutes fighting their way out of bubbles, they successfully extracted all supercaps still online to safety. Some pilots forced to log off due to real-life obligations, however, may continue to be targets of opportunity for DRF pilots in the days following the battle.
After all was said and done, the total isk lost tallies at nearly a trillion isk. More accurate counts are still impossible, due to the Time Dilation and limitations of third-party battle report constructors. The most accurate battle report can be found here, although it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
As a final note, while this was the first major battle between the GotG and the DRF, it will almost certainly not be the last, and INN will watch for further notable clashes in the North.